Prius named best new car value for 2d straight year by Consumer Reports

 

Toyota's Prius took top honors for new car value for the second straight year in Consumer Reports annual ranking.

Toyota’s Prius took top honors for new car value for the second straight year in Consumer Reports annual ranking.

 Nissan Armada ranked lowest overall in CR’s annual Best- & Worst-Value Ranking

BY GERRY MILES

It may not be a surprise in these days of rising gas prices that a gas-sipping pioneer hybrid took top honors over a full-sized SUV that can haul plenty of people and parcels this holiday season with the greatest of ease but may require in-flight refueling.

Today, Consumer Reports crowned the Toyota Prius as  the best overall value for the automotive dollar and the Nissan Armada the worst in its annual Best New-Car Value analysis.

CR said the hybrid has the right combination of performance, reliability and low estimated five-year ownership costs of 47 cents per mile. Last year, the Prius unseated the perennial best-value leader, the Honda Fit and its four-year title run.

Nissan's full-sized SUV, Armada, received the lowest ranking for value, no doubt to a rise in gas prices.

Nissan’s full-sized SUV, Armada, received the lowest ranking for value, no doubt to a rise in gas prices.

It figures, that the Armada, a large SUV that gets only 13 mpg overall is said to cost $1.20 per mile – because it has a very different inherent mission than the Prius. However CR also noted that Armada scored poorly in its annual reliability survey.

Toyota and Lexus models placed at the top in three of the 10 categories that Consumer Reports analyzed—with the Prius taking top overall ranking and emerging in first place in the compact/subcompact cars category. The Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited is the top-scoring vehicle in the Large Cars group and the Lexus ES 300h is the top model in the Luxury Cars category.

Vehicles from Subaru and Mazda were also standouts in the analysis; each automaker had vehicles that topped the rankings in two categories. The Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium was the top-scoring vehicle in the Midsized Cars category and the Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium scored best among Small SUVs. The Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand ranked first overall in the Sports Cars/Convertibles category while the Mazda5 Grand Touring was best in the Wagons/Minivans group.

In creating its annual Best and Worst New-Car Values list, Consumer Reports rates performance, reliability, and owner-cost data to calculate a value score for more than 200 different vehicles ranging from small cars like the Hyundai Accent and Honda Fit to luxury sedans such as the Cadillac XTS and BMW 750Li.

“The Prius’ 44 mpg overall is the best fuel economy of any non-plug-in car that Consumer Reports has tested,” said Consumer Reports Automotive Editor Rik Paul. “Though it’s not particularly cheap to buy, the Prius’ depreciation is so low that it costs less to own over the first five years than its initial MSRP. We call that a bargain.”

The scores were calculated based on the five-year owner cost for each vehicle, along with Consumer Reports’ road-test score and the organization’s own predicted-reliability score from the latest Annual Auto Survey. The five-year owner cost estimates factor in depreciation, fuel, insurance premiums, interest on financing, maintenance and repairs, and sales tax. Depreciation is by far the largest owner-cost factor.

The 10 vehicle categories Consumer Reports included in this analysis:

  • Compact/Subcompact Cars
  • Midsized Cars
  • Large Cars
  • Luxury Cars
  • Sports Cars/Convertibles
  • Wagons/Minivans
  • Small SUVs
  • Midsized SUVs
  • Luxury/Large SUVs
  • Pickups

Here’s a look at the winners and losers in each of the categories:

  • – Compact /Subcompact Cars: Best, Toyota Prius Four; Worst, Volkswagen Beetle 2.5L
  • – Midsized Cars: Best, Subaru Legacy 2.5i Premium; Worst, Nissan Altima 3.5 SL
  • – Large Cars: Best, Toyota Avalon Hybrid Limited; Worst, Ford Taurus Limited
  • – Luxury Cars: Best, Lexus ES 300h; Worst, BMW 750Li
  • – Sports Cars/Convertibles: Best: Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring; Worst, Chevrolet Camaro convertible 2SS (V8)
  • – Wagons/Minivans: Best, Mazda5 Grand Touring; Worst, Chrysler Town & Country Touring-L
  • – Small SUVs: Best, Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium; Worst, Ford Escape SE (1.6T)
  • – Midsized SUVs: Best, Nissan Murano SL; Worst, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
  • – Luxury/Large SUVs: Best, BMW X1 xDrive28i; Worst, Nissan Armada Platinum
  • – Pickups: Best, Honda Ridgeline RTS; Worst, Ford F-250 Lariat (6.7L V8)
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